We cannot continue to live our life in the manner and fashion that we are. If we do not take care of our children – we all lose. Ladies, Gentlemen, Children it is now time for every one of us to make a commitment that violence will not be part of our life. It is never okay for someone to live their life in a manner and fashion that brings harm to another. Bad behavior is always wrong. Let tonight be the beginning of the change.
My name is Kelly Ann Ramsey. For more than twenty years, I have served as a Referee at the Wayne County Juvenile Court handling those cases where children are removed from the care and custody of their parents, due to abuse and neglect. The Court also handles cases involving children 16 and younger who have broken the law. Juvenile Courts seek to improve the lives of those individuals who stand before jurists like me, by resolving the conditions that brought their lives to the attention of the court.
I’d like to tell you a story about a little boy who once had review hearings in my courtroom. He had become a permanent court ward, meaning that either his parents’ parental rights were terminated or they were deceased, and he was available for adoption. Like many other children who have lived in chaos, he proved to be a difficult placement and had moved from one home to another, hoping to find the right fit. During a scheduled review hearing, I asked the little guy if he liked his new home and his new prospective adoptive parents. He told me that he liked this new home very much. I then asked him what he liked best about his new home? He thought long and hard and then he told me that what he liked best about his new home was “that he had not heard any gun shots, yet.” This little boy, only about 6 or 7 years old, was judging the quality of his home by the absence of gunfire.
We should be ashamed.
When did we start to measure the quality of a home by the absence of gunfire? When did violence become so prevalent? If I asked for a show of hands, I bet that almost everyone in this room knows someone who has been shot or killed, had their car stolen or their home broken in to, or knows someone who has been raped? When did that – when did violence – become a way of life?
I grew up only a few blocks from here. Every day, I walked these very blocks to attend to St. Scholastica Grade School and Benedictine High School. I know that my parents told me not to talk to strangers – but, not once did I fear being shot and killed on the way to school or while at Peterson Park or while playing tag in my neighborhood.
Unfortunately, a long time ago, I gave up saying, “I’ve heard it all on my job.” Never could I have imagined a child telling me that what he likes best about his new home was that he had not heard any gun shots, yet.
But we do not have to accept this. Let tonight be the beginning of the change.
Every child has the right to live in a safe, suitable, loving, nurturing, drug free, crime free home environment. We all have the right to safety.
Let us tell the truth about what is wrong. In part, we must stop feeding our children sex, drugs and violence.
We need to educate and encourage our youth beginning at the earliest age possible. They must come to understand that by having a goal and working hard to accomplish that goal, they can achieve the seemingly impossible. We must encourage our children to dream, and we must reinforce this value everyday of their lives.
Instead of choosing fame – let’s take the time to guide the children and empower them to seek the best in themselves so that their dreams can come true.
We have all seen the mother duck guiding her young ducklings across the road into danger. Our children will follow us everywhere. Parents, Adults – let us guide our children. Parents, tell your children “No.” There is more love in the word “No” than “Yes.”
Let’s show our children that it is not okay to live life in a manner and fashion that harms another.
Let each and every one make the commitment that violence will not be part of our life. Now is the time. Peace is the answer.
Thank you Pastor Ovella Andreas, for your vision and perseverance. Rev. Wendell Anthony thank you for welcoming us to your home.
Remarks delivered Monday, Oct. 22, by Kelly Ann Ramsey at a City Wide Day of Peace and Healing, held at Fellowship Chapel Church, Detroit , to help bring an end to the violence plaguing Detroit, many Michigan communities and across this country.
Ramsey is running for Non Incumbent Wayne County Circuit Court Judge.